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Jay Carroll’s Top 5 Souvenirs

By Jay Carroll


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When Jay Carroll travels, he picks up keepsakes to remind him of his journeys. Here are some of his favorite souvenirs, which decorate his San Francisco home.

Butch Anthony pan, Seale, Alabama
The Southern clothing designer Billy Reid threw a party in Florence, Alabama, where I met this Seale folk artist named Butch Anthony. He wears overalls, old cotton Henleys, and a beaver felt hat and makes really beautiful pieces of new American folk art. I bought a couple items from him, my favorite being a big round tin pan that he made into a face. It’s one of the most unique things I own.” museumofwonder.com

Indigo-dyed water pot, Pondicherry, India (shown at top)
“In a small village near Pondicherry, I watched how the color indigo is made in the old method where four guys stand in a bath, kicking backwards in rhythmic unison to oxidize the indigo in the water. The sound and movement were just hypnotic. I found this tin pot that was used there for so long it was banged up and indigo-dyed in various shades of blue.” 


Netted beach stone, Stonington, Maine (above)
“Tim Whitten, a maritime artisan that I worked with for Made Here, uses traditional fishing knots to braid rope around rocks and stones. He trained as an engineer, but something about handmade rope work clicked with him later in life. I think this stone is such a beautiful, simple object.” marlinespike.com

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Kapital scarf, Japan
“The brand Kapital makes some of the most interesting garments I’ve ever seen. They have wool scarves that they call mufflers. When they were testing ways to process fabric, they messed up, resulting in a feltlike material that blends colors in a really special way. It’s proof that sometimes the most beautiful things come from mistakes.” kapital.jp

Custom moccasins, Cave Junction, Oregon
“My friend Carol Lindhorse traced my foot and had me pick out the shape, the leather, and the colors of the beads for these moccasins. She sent them to me after a couple months, and they fit like a glove. I almost don’t want to wear them out of fear that I’ll mess them up.”

Image by Jake Stangel. See Jay Carroll’s favorite U.S. vintage stores and favorite places to stay, play, and drive. Read the interview with Jay Carroll.